Category Archives: British Embassy

Report on the InfoAbend in Bremen, 13th November

Adam Takar, one of the British in Germany Interns, reports on the recent InfoAbend in Bremen.

Last Tuesday, the British Embassy held a citizens’ info event in the Bremen Chamber of Commerce with British in Germany e.V. and the Migrationsamt. The night kicked off with drinks and discussion, where Brits got to meet and get to know each other. Although Daniel and I arrived late thanks to a sudden train cancellation (so much for the famed German efficiency), Daniel Tetlow nevertheless made up for it with a well-received speech. The Embassy, though their hands are still tied, could not offer much in the way of any new information or reassurance beyond the same line they have been towing over the past few months; that they are unsure of what will happen in the event of a no deal, and that they can only provide guidance on what should be done as stated in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

Daniel Tetlow, co-founder of British in Germany e.V. talking alongside British Honorary Consul Ubbo Oltmanns, Robbie Bulloch, British Deputy Head of Mission and Prisca Merz, Regional Consular Policy Advisor Germany, Austria.

Fortunately, despite it being last minute, I was asked to speak too during BiG’s speech, making up for the fact I was not able to as part of the mass lobby on the 5th. I’d never done anything quite like this before, so was a little shaky getting up on the podium, and, though I was perhaps a little less well-versed in public-speaking than Daniel, it was a worthwhile experience to put a smile on some of the audience’s faces. A young voice has been largely missing from the Brexit debates and negotiations in Britain so far, and thus BiG offering Connie and me to actually speak in a public setting has been something we are both very grateful for.

Following the speeches, came the Q&A, which focused predominantly on issues of overseas housing, what Germany’s policies will be post-Brexit day (no more information here as of when I’m writing), healthcare, voter registration and pet passports, an issue surprisingly never asked about previously. Prisca Merz of the Embassy was extremely helpful as always giving citizens an update of the current situation, but, as we can expect, not many concrete answers could really be given at the time, e.g. that economically inactive Britons in the EU will be able to claim healthcare costs from the NHS if there is a deal, and that pet passports may have new requirements in the event of a no deal etc. In short, answers tended to be more conditional than definite.

British in Germany has, as a result of the event, managed to raise €135 from donations, which, as always, we are extremely appreciative of. We got to know several more Brits in Germany, and we’d invite anyone who hasn’t, to either become a member, or send us a donation. In this especially turbulent political climate, all the support you can give is much appreciated to ensure that we can continue preserving British citizens’ rights here in Germany. We have even featured in local news as a result of the event: 

Finally, for any Brits in and around Bremen, we would love to invite you to our first Stammtisch event! This will be a more relaxed evening where you can meet fellow Brits and discuss the latest developments re: Brexit. We look forward to seeing you at Loft (Bahnhofspl. 5, Bremen – above Paddy’s) from 19:30 on Wednesday 28th November.

If there are any remaining questions that could have been asked, feel free to email us at info@britishingermany.org and we will do our best to try and help you.

InfoAbend in Heidelberg – 13th December

British in Germany representative Dave Hole together with the British Consulate Munich and the Deutsch Britische Gesellschaft Rhein-Neckar e.V are holding an InfoAbend in Heidelberg.

Location:
Stadtbücherei Heidelberg
Poststraße 15, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany

Time:
18:00 – 20:30

The British Consulate Munich and the Deutsch Britische Gesellschaft Rhein-Neckar e.V. will host an Open Evening for UK Nationals in Heidelberg on Thursday 13 December at 6pm at the Heidelberg Stadtbuecherei.

British Consul General Simon Kendall will give an update on the status of negotiations on citizens’ rights and what this means for you. Joining him will be Nicola Hayton (President of the DBG Rhein-Neckar e.V) and David Hole (British in Germany). Following the opening remarks, are speakers are primarily here to answer your questions about your rights post-Brexit. The event is primarily aimed at British nationals living in and around Heidelberg. Family members and friends are of course welcome to attend.

Doors open at 5.30 pm. The event will run from 6pm to 8.30 pm. We look forward to welcoming you then.

This event can also be found in our Events Calendar.

Image – By Christian Bienia. – Farbkorrektur von de:Bild:Heidelberg.jpg by Godewind 18:13, 1 January 2006 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=489975

Report on InfoAbend in Essen, 31st October

Constance Simms, one of the British in Germany Interns, reports on the recent InfoAbend in Essen.

The InfoAbend in Essen took place on the 31st of October in the Volkshochschule, Burgplatz Essen, with BiG representative Jenny Hayhurst joining Rafe Courage (British Consul General Düsseldorf), Bernhard Nadorf (Chair of the Deutsch- Englische-Gesellschaft Ruhr e.V.) and Frau Anjelika Fischer (there as a representative of the town of Essen) for a discussion on the current state of negotiations, followed by a lengthy Q&A session.

Making my way to the venue through the streets of Essen, I was confronted by many a horrific apparition due to the meeting falling on Halloween Eve. Witches, ghosts and a splattering of fake blood greeted me as I hurried along, however the scariest spectre of the evening was yet to be encountered, that of a No Deal Brexit.

It was this fear of a No Deal scenario, due to our proximity to the withdrawal date, that permeated the atmosphere of the evening.

Following an opening statement by Bernhard Nadorf, wherein all the speakers were introduced, Mr Courage took to the floor. He underlined the futility of a No Deal scenario for everyone involved, emphasising that his colleagues were working hard to ensure a deal so that an agreement would be reached to permit EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU to continue living their lives more or less as they hitherto have been.

Mr Courage was followed by BiG’s Jenny Hayhurst, who opened with a challenge to the commonly held image of British citizens in Europe, reminding the panel and audience that of the 1.2 million British citizens in the EU, over 84% are under 65 and thus of working age. In a further sting, she reiterated how 60% of these British citizens were disenfranchised in the referendum, a referendum that has tossed many of their lives into an agonising state of limbo. Ms Hayhurst stressed that although in practical terms it was a sensible idea for British citizens living in Germany to collect as comprehensive a stack of documents as possible in order to prove their status should Britain crash out of the EU, the best solution is to make sure that Citizens Rights (as laid out in the Withdrawal Agreement) are ring fenced, in order to restore a semblance of stability to the 1.2 million British lives on the continent.

Frau Anjelika Fischer addressed the crowd next with her practical approach to taking German citizenship, accompanied by an informative slideshow that explained why to do this, who is eligible, and how to go about being naturalised.

The subsequent Q&A was under Chatham House rules, so I am somewhat limited in what I can report regarding the questions or the panel’s answers. I am, however, able to disclose that a lot of questions concentrated on the subject of British citizens returning to Britain with their European spouses in the event of No Deal. Further questions revealed that pensions, cross border payments and travel restrictions were also a top priority, along with the question of German citizenship (for which Frau Fischer’s presence was indispensable).

The questions revealed a sense of growing distrust among British citizens in Germany towards the British authorities, and a strong frustration about the lack of information available when we are so close to the Brexit date of the end of March 2019. Many felt that the lack of provision made by the British Government has left them in a state of great uncertainty. BiG’s Jenny Hayhurst was especially tactful in addressing this issue in her speech, pressing the panel’s British Government representatives for more answers to the many vital, unanswered questions. BiG are making a formal record of all the questions asked and the answers given, in order to pursue answers from the British authorities in the forthcoming months.

The BiG’s InfoAbends are continuing around the country, with the next one taking place on the 13th of November in Bremen. More information is on our website and our facebook page.

Foto: (c) British in Germany and by Tuxyso / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20104589

InfoAbend in Berlin, December 18th

British in Germany representative Jane Golding together with the British Embassy are holding an InfoAbend in Berlin.

Location:
Britische Botschaft Berlin
Wilhelmstraße 70/71, 10117 Berlin

Time:
19:30 – 21:00

Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. We are continuing our series of information evenings across Germany to ensure British citizens have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions they have about citizens’ rights post-Brexit.

Please join us on 18th December the British Embassy Berlin with Ambassador Sebastian Wood and the British in Germany representative Jane Golding who will give an update on the status of negotiations and what this means for you.

The event is primarily aimed at British citizens living in and around Berlin. Family members and friends are of course also welcome to attend. Doors open 19:00. Please make sure you bring a photographic ID. Registration via Eventbrite.

This event can also be found on our Events Calendar.

InfoAbend in Kiel, 29th October

British in Germany representative Matt Bristow together with the British Embassy are holding  an InfoAbend in Kiel.

Location:
IHK zu Kiel Haus der Wirtschaft
Bergstraße 2, 24103 Kiel

TIme:
18:00 – 20:00

Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. We are continuing our series of information evenings across Germany to ensure British citizens have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions they have about citizens’ rights post-Brexit.

Please join us on 29th October at IHK Kiel with Deputy Head of Mission, Robbie Bulloch, and British Honorary Consul in Kiel, Jann Petersen, who will give an update on the status of negotiations and what this means for you. Joining the panel will be Matt Bristow from British in Germany.

The event is primarily aimed at British citizens living in and around Kiel. Family members and friends are of course also welcome to attend. Doors open 18.00. Please register on Eventbrite.

This event is also in our Events Calendar.

Image: By Arne List – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3407836

InfoAbend in Essen, 31st October

Jenny Hayhurst will be representing British in Germany  together with Rafe Courage of the British Embassy and Bernhard Nadorf  the Chair of Deutsch-Englische-Gesellschaft Ruhr e.V at an InfoAbend in Essen.

Location:
Volkshochschule Essen
Burgplatz 1, 45127 Essen

Time:
19:00 – 21:00

Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. This event is primarily aimed at British nationals living in and around the Essen area, to ensure you have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions you have about your rights post-Brexit.
We look forward to welcoming you in Essen. Doors open at 18:30.

Please register for this event on Eventbrite.

This event is also in our Events Calendar.

Foto: By Tuxyso / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20104589

InfoAbend in Bremen, 13th November

British in Germany representative Daniel Tetlow together with the British Embassy is holding an InfoAbend in Bremen.

Location:
Handelskammer Bremen
Am Markt 13, 28195 Bremen

Time:
18:00 – 20:00

Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. We are continuing our series of information evenings across Germany to ensure British citizens have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions they have about citizens’ rights post-Brexit.

The event is primarily aimed at British citizens living in and around Bremen. Family members and friends are of course also welcome to attend.

Limited spaces available. Doors open at 17:30. Please give your name when reserving your ticket as ID will be requested on the door. We look forward to seeing you!

Please register to attend on Eventbrite.

This events also appears in our Events Calendar.

Image: Von Jürgen Howaldt CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2088709

 

Open Evening for UK Nationals in Dusseldorf – 8th October

British in Germany will be represented by Laurence Genillard at the British Embassy InfoAbend event in Dusseldorf on 8th October.

The British Embassy have posted details of this event on their Facebook site and the description is as follow:

Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. We are continuing our series of information evenings across Germany to ensure British citizens have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions they have about citizens’ rights post-Brexit.
The event is primarily aimed at British citizens living in and around Düsseldorf. Family members and friends are of course also welcome to attend. Doors open 18.30. Please register for this free event via Eventbrite.

Please see our Events Calendar for location details and map

Image (c) By Assumulator – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23884934

Report on the Open Evening For British Citizens in Stuttgart in Evang. Bildungszentrum Hospitalhof – July 25th


Last Wednesday the 25th of July the British Embassy hosted an open evening in the Hospitalhof in Stuttgart. David Hole from British in Germany was present and was on the panel along with Prisca Merz the representative for citizens’ rights to Germany and Austria, HM General Consul for Munich Simon Kendall and British honorary consul Dr. Fritz Oesterle.

The event itself was well attended and audience participation was lively, with many of the questions being focused around citizenship. The outline made by Simon Kendall at the beginning of the evening was similar to the one made in Nuremberg the week before. He highlighted how HM government feels citizens’ rights are the area in which the most progress has been made. He brought attention to the confirmation of the ability to be joined by family members, aggregation of pensions and the continuation of rights within healthcare to export benefits.


The notion of visa free travel was also explained. However, David Hole of British in Germany elucidated the many areas of uncertainty which still stand to affect those living in Germany. Key amongst these issues was the continuation of free movement, as visa free travel currently only includes tourism or frontier workers. He also expressed concern about the right to dual-citizenship post transition period, and if this would stand in the circumstance that there is no transition period; and whether Germany would adopt a constitutive system, similar to the UK’s proposed settled status, for registration.


The largest portion of the evening was given over to audience questions, most of which addressed the issue of dual/tri citizenship and one’s individual right to apply. There was mention of the German Auswärtiges Amt’s draft Bill to extend allowance for applications to the end of the transition period and to judge the case based on the date of application rather than the date of decision. However, Prisca Merz was clear in stating that this was a draft and as it stands it is the date of decision which counts and that March 29th 2019 is the cut off. David Hole noted that British in Germany is currently working on a response to the AA’s proposal, but that our negotiations with them should continue. On both sides the feeling was that if you are eligible to apply for dual citizenship now, it would be prudent to do this as soon as possible.


HM Consul General was sympathetic to the issues and questions raised by everyone in attendance, and was grateful for questions to which there was no answer, noting that they are key in informing future decisions. To this end, British in Germany made note of all questions and their answers.

Images (c) British in Germany

Report on the open Evening For British Citizens in Nuremberg in Caritas-Pirckheimer-Haus – July 18th

Open Evening for British Citizens in Nuremberg, 18 July 2018

Organised by: HM Embassy Berlin, British in Bavaria, British in Germany

About 60 UK citizens attended a citizens’ rights event organised in Nuremberg by the British Embassy on 18 July 2018.

Simon Kendall, HM Consul-General for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
Simon Kendall, HM Consul-General for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

The new HM Consul-General for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, Simon Kendall, gave an address on the position of HM Government on the question of citizens’ rights in the EU27 after the withdrawal of the UK. This is and has been the number one priority for the government, he reported, and more progress had been made in this area than in any other of the withdrawal negotiations. Citizens would be able to live and work as before in the country of residence as at the date of withdrawal. Their right to permanent residence in that country would be lost only after a period of absence in excess of five years. A transition period would be implemented ending 31.12.2020, during which existing EU entitlements would continue to apply or be acquired. Those include, for example, the right to be joined by family members (children, grandchildren, dependent parents and grandparents) and the right of equal treatment. Questions of social security, Kendall pointed out, were in the main resolved, in particular aggregation of contributions to state pension schemes. Health care should remain as it is, with the continued right to export benefits.

HMG is conscious of the significance to many citizens of the right to free onward movement within the EU27 and its loss. It was, unfortunately, not within the EU’s negotiating mandate to address this, but HMG will continue to pursue it, he said. Professional qualifications recognised or in the course of recognition as at the date of withdrawal would retain their recognition, but the position thereafter remains for negotiation. There should be visa-free travel.


The UK has set out its stall in relation to the future relationship with the EU27 in the recent White Paper. Their focus is on reaching a Withdrawal Agreement by October.

David Hole, speaking for British in Germany and British in Bavaria, highlighted the very real concerns and anxieties of British citizens in Germany, who do not regard their position in any way as settled, or who feel that these concerns are not being properly appreciated or attended to. This was more than amply demonstrated by the many and detailed questions that followed.

David Hole, "British in Bavaria" and "British in Germany".
David Hole, “British in Bavaria” and “British in Germany”.

These related, amongst others, to dual/triple citizenship (e.g. whether there will be a subsequent requirement to make a choice retrospectively), qualifying periods and key dates for permanent residence permits post-Brexit, children´s status, complex issues of return to the UK with non-British family members, contingency plans for a no-deal result, validity of driving licences and access to pensions and pension contributions.

The HM Consul-General appreciated the anxiety on these issues and assured the audience that he would follow up on the unanswered questions. For this purpose the Embassy and British in Germany noted down all the questions.

by David Hole

Images (c) British in Germany